Doug Atkins- the prototype of the defensive end- dies at 85

Bears Hall of Famer Doug Atkins has died at 85.

Atkins was a defensive end feared by quarterbacks all over the NFL, and a mainstay of the team during my early years as a Bears' fan.  He also played for Cleveland and New Orleans.

A college high-jumper who was 6 feet 8 inches tall, when he wasn't demolishing quarterbacks or eating running backs for lunch he had an uncanny ability to leap into the air and bat passes down as they crossed the line of scrimmage,

Together with Gino Marchetti of the Colts- another Hall of Famer- Atkins pretty much created the modern defensive end position, much as Mike Ditka did for tight end.

So another of the Bears I rooted for as a kid has gone. Every time it happens, I feel even older than I am.

Rest in peace, Doug.


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